A strange set of coincidences led me to a Ph.D. in German Studies with a concentration in Film and Media from Indiana University. In my day job I now teach German, Literature, and Humanities at Rhodes College in Memphis. Simply put, I love this work deeply. Despite having done it full time for a little while now, I still get a jolt of gratitude getting out of my car on campus every morning.
My scholarly research focuses on representations of science, technology, and medicine, mainly in German texts from the 18th and 19th centuries. Because of my background in Film and Media, I work with visual culture, not just literature. I often find continuities between German texts in those earlier centuries and Anglo-American texts (including TV and film) today, so my work tends to be comparative in nature. My academic publications include a study of European folklore in Buffy and an analysis of the Hitler-clone theme 1970s pop culture, among other topics.
When possible, I sneak my genre interests into the classroom in comp lit courses like “Other Worlds,” “Monsters, Madness, and Mechanical Men,” and “Utopias and Dystopias” With a theoretical background in cultural studies methodologies, I don’t make a value distinction between so-called “low” and “high” culture and literature. To me, genre texts are just as instructive about the culture that produces them as the fancy stuff can be – in different ways, to be sure – but equally valuable.
Although I have a number of academic publication credits, my original aspiration was to write in the genre that made me fall in love with reading: science fiction. I’ve written fiction off and on for the past several years for fun, but I only sold my first piece in 2015, making it possible to knock “become published sci-fi author” off my bucket list. My short story “Breathe” appears in the anthology Athena’s Daughters 2 from Silence in the Library. I’ll make the prequel to that story, “Run” available in some format sometime in the near future, possibly for free on here.
The Journal of Fandom Studies recently received my manuscript for an article on the genealogy of queerbaiting in the context of historical sodomy laws, followed by Hollywood’s pre-MPAA morality codes, so that is currently working its way through peer review. I’m in the final stages of revising an article about queer subtext in E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “Automata,” and I just completed a semi-theoretical piece using Schiller’s concept of nostalgia as a way to examine historical representation in contemporary graphic novels (forthcoming from Colloquia Germanica).
I also work in fits and starts on Emissary’s Errand, a near-future, first-contact, buddy road trip novel about a very tall winged humanoid and a Buddhist monk. And at any given point I’m at work on several short stories that might someday see the light of day.
Since March 2016 and the overwhelming response to this fateful post, I have become a vocal activist for the cause of positive LGBTQ+ representation in the media, especially on scripted TV shows. I do this work in hope of educating the entertainment industry and the public about the damaging effects of the BYG (“bury your gays”) trope on the real lives of LGBTQ people, especially young people.
When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hanging out at home with my lovely wife or taking our dog on walks. I do TRX and yoga for exercise. I’m not great at either one, but I’m working on building my strength after two injuries set me back in 2016. As a longtime student of Zen, I facilitate a local meditation group. I also serve on the board of the Silent Thunder / Moku-rai Order, an organization of Soto Zen practice communities in the US and Canada, and I am the VP / President-Elect of Women in German, a professional academic organization in my home discipline for scholars of gender and sexuality studies.
On this blog I mostly post analyses of books, shows, and films, mostly those of a genre nature. I also do some recap-reviews and personal essays. Occasionally I write about other academic topics and/or about the craft of writing itself.
I’m available for speaking and podcast gigs about my academic research, pop culture analysis, and/or my LGBTQ-related media activism. I also take occasional topic requests on this blog and enjoy doing guest spots on other people’s. Hit me up at my contact page if you’d like to make a request or invite me to speak to your group or on your podcast.